Bug #17282

Discuss whether we want to enable automatic email checking

Added by segfault 2019-12-01 11:54:14 . Updated 2020-05-08 08:13:25 .

Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Feature Branch:
Type of work:

Affected tool:
Email Client
Deliverable for:



We started this discussion in Feature #17222#note-4 and following. We did not reach a conclusion in time for 4.1, so we kept the behavior of previous Tails version, which is to disable the automatic email checking.

Before 4.1 the user could opt-in for automatic email checking (with or without being conscious of the privacy implications), but since 4.1 it’s impossible.


  • fetch email automatically when Thunderbird starts
  • fetch email regularly in the background

In favor of enabling automatic email checking

  • better UX for a subset of our userbase

In favor of disabling automatic email checking

  • email server admins can correlate multiple contextual identities hosted on the same email server
    • rebuttal: officially we don’t “support” using several contextual identities in a single Tails session (weak as users do it anyway in practice, and as long as we don’t forbid this nor warn them while setting up a 2+’th email account, that’s expected)
    • rebuttal: at least in some cases, the “Get Messages” button leaks this info already (it’ll fetch email for every account, unless a specific one is selected already in the sidebar; if “Local Folders” is selected, that button fetches email for every account)


Related issues

Related to Tails - Feature #17222: Set Thunderbird account preferences previously set by TorBirdy Resolved
Blocks Tails - Feature #16209: Core work: Foundations Team Confirmed


#1 Updated by segfault 2019-12-01 11:54:39

  • related to Feature #17222: Set Thunderbird account preferences previously set by TorBirdy added

#2 Updated by CyrilBrulebois 2020-01-07 18:00:43

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.2 to Tails_4.3

#3 Updated by anonym 2020-02-11 15:26:26

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.3 to Tails_4.4

#4 Updated by CyrilBrulebois 2020-03-12 09:56:01

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.4 to Tails_4.5

#5 Updated by intrigeri 2020-03-22 06:50:38

#6 Updated by intrigeri 2020-03-22 06:50:51

  • Target version deleted (Tails_4.5)

#7 Updated by intrigeri 2020-05-08 08:13:25

  • Description updated

(Summed up the context, scope, and pros/cons arguments.)